Gregory Sams
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23. Money's Real Dimension

Money and wealth are surrounded by so much emotion, envy and aspiration that we sometimes can lose touch with what money actually is, or rather what it represents.
There have been volumes written on many other aspects of money - what it does, how to get it, how to manage it, invest it, etc. You would also be interested to find out just how the state, over a period of a few generations, craftily took over and debased the sound money system that society was evolving in the last century, stealing the gold in the process. It is a long and fascinating story and the nub of it was the government promise, on paper, to redeem the early bills* for gold or silver if requested. What we now call a dollar bill was once a silver certificate. A few generations after the gold and silver were taken into safekeeping by the state, the text on the notes changed and they became just a promise that they were worth a pound, dollar, so many pesos, or whatever. But though in one sense the money we now have is an artful invention of the state, it still retains a real worth as the representation of value which we create. Money is real and if we didn't have it we would have to invent it.

*As in the financial instrument, a "bill of exchange."

When a few pennies worth of clay becomes a china cup, some paint and canvas an inspiring work of art, or some silicon chips, wires and plastic become a telephone, a value has been created in the world. When one person's knowledge and experience are put to use teaching another human being to sing, or to draft watertight contracts, a value has been added to the world. Earth and Sun are converted to rice and beans by the farmer. Something that was once worth a little bit less, or very little at all, has been changed into something more valuable through the introduction of human ingenuity, intellect, and effort. We represent this value with money and it is the root source of our wealth as a society.*

*Certainly, the subject is more complex than just this. Are exhaustible resources such as oil or gold some common fund of the earth or the property of those who harvest them, often after great effort, risk and investment? Oil, of course, was discovered before the automobile and then presumably did seem as inexhaustible as sand. In some modern resorts, the beautiful sand beaches that attract tourists have been looted by builders to make the hotels in which they stay.

It is this value, or the capacity to produce it, which is enhanced and increased in money markets, then traded back and forth for gain or frequently loss. But the basis of this growing wealth is real. When the wetclay is turned into a china cup, wealth has been created, money has been made, and it has been at nobody's expense. I only make this elaborate point for those who suspect that money made is always made at the expense of somebody, somewhere else. That happens too but the value that shifts in most speculative transactions had to be created in the first place.

What a shame it is that so many of those involved in valuable and important work on this planet do so with the attitude that they should not make any money or profit from their good works. If someone, or a group of people, figure out a long-term way to alleviate world starvation, the refugee crisis, or homelessness than I, for one, wish them a healthy financial reward for their efforts. If we could get rich by saving the rainforest then more people might focus seriously on that situation.
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From the book "Uncommon Sense - The State is Out of Date"
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